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10901  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 23, 2010, 12:22:15 PM
Good thing we'd never put someone lacking experience and ability in a national leadership position.
10902  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Alert Radley Balko! on: October 23, 2010, 11:45:27 AM
**US Gov't uses Big Brother tactics on poor undocumented immigrants just trying to make a living.**

Their surveillance effort captured more than 50,000 calls over six months, conversations that reached deep into Mexico and helped build a sprawling case against 43 suspects - including Mexican police and top officials - allegedly linked to a savage trafficking ring known as the Fernando Sanchez Organization.

According to the wiretaps and confidential informants, the suspects plotted kidnappings and killings and hired American teenage girls, with nicknames like Dopey, to smuggle quarter-pound loads of methamphetamine across the border for $100 a trip. To send a message to a rival, they dumped a disemboweled dog in his mother's front yard.

But U.S. law enforcement officials say the most worrisome thing about the Fernando Sanchez Organization was how aggressively it moved to set up operations in the United States, working out of a San Diego apartment it called "The Office."

At a time of heightened concern in Washington that drug violence along the border may spill into the United States, the case dubbed "Luz Verde," or Green Light, shows how Mexican cartels are trying to build up their U.S. presence.

The Fernando Sanchez Organization's San Diego venture functioned almost like a franchise, prosecutors say, giving it greater control over lucrative smuggling routes and drug distribution networks north of the border.

"They moved back and forth, from one side to the other. They commuted. We had lieutenants of the organization living here in San Diego and ordering kidnappings and murders in Mexico," said Todd Robinson, the assistant U.S. attorney who will prosecute the alleged drug ring next year.

The case shows that as the border becomes less of an operational barrier for Mexican cartels, it appears to be less of one for U.S. surveillance efforts. Because the suspects' cellphone and radio traffic could be captured by towers on the northern side of the border, U.S. agents were able to eavesdrop on calls made on Mexican cellphones, between two callers in Mexico - a tactic prosecutors say has never been deployed so extensively.

Captured on one wiretap: a cartel leader, a former homicide detective from Tijuana, negotiating with a Mexican state judicial police officer about a job offer to lead a death squad.

Recorded on other calls: the operation's biggest catch, Jesus Quinones Marquez, a high-ranking Mexican official and alleged cartel operative code-named "El Rinon," or "The Kidney." As he worked and socialized with U.S. law enforcement officials in his role as international liaison for the Baja California attorney general's office, Quinones passed confidential information to cartel bosses and directed Mexican police to take action against rival traffickers, prosecutors say.

He and 34 other suspects are now in U.S. jails. The remaining eight are still at large.

Investigators say it is not unusual for Mexican cartel leaders and their underlings to move north to seek refuge, or place representatives in such cities as Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta to manage large deliveries of drugs. But the Fernando Sanchez Organization was more ambitious. It was building a network in San Diego, complete with senior managers to facilitate large and small drug shipments and sales.
10903  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / race-based justice on: October 22, 2010, 08:21:34 PM

DOJ sources tell WaPo: Yes, racial politics are being played in the Civil Rights Division

posted at 8:57 pm on October 22, 2010 by Allahpundit

A blockbuster, Breitbart calls it. Remember J. Christian Adams and the New Black Panther Party voting rights case? Thanks to Adams, the DOJ pursued a civil action against two Panther members for intimidating voters outside a polling place in Philly in 2008. The Panthers didn’t contest it and the DOJ won a permanent injunction — only to then drop the charges, seemingly inexplicably. Adams and a colleague claimed that the Department backed off because they didn’t want to pursue voting rights actions against minority defendants. DOJ higher-ups denied it. The Civil Rights Commission started investigating, and they eventually started splitting over what happened too.

Finally, at long last, WaPo decided to try to figure out what happened. Who’s right? Adams in asserting that there’s institutional resistance to using voting rights laws — which were, after all, passed in response to white abuses against blacks — against minority defendants? Or the higher-ups in insisting that the Panther case had nothing to do with race but merely with weak evidence? WaPo’s verdict:

    In recent months, Adams and a Justice Department colleague have said the case was dismissed because the department is reluctant to pursue cases against minorities accused of violating the voting rights of whites. Three other Justice Department lawyers, in recent interviews, gave the same description of the department’s culture, which department officials strongly deny…

    Civil rights officials from the Bush administration have said that enforcement should be race-neutral. But some officials from the Obama administration, which took office vowing to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement, thought the agency should focus primarily on cases filed on behalf of minorities.

    “The Voting Rights Act was passed because people like Bull Connor were hitting people like John Lewis, not the other way around,” said one Justice Department official not authorized to speak publicly, referring to the white Alabama police commissioner who cracked down on civil rights protesters such as Lewis, now a Democratic congressman from Georgia…

    Three Justice Department lawyers, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation from their supervisors, described the same tensions, among career lawyers as well as political appointees. Employees who worked on the [Ike] Brown case were harassed by colleagues, they said, and some department lawyers anonymously went on legal blogs “absolutely tearing apart anybody who was involved in that case,” said one lawyer.

    “There are career people who feel strongly that it is not the voting section’s job to protect white voters,” the lawyer said. “The environment is that you better toe the line of traditional civil rights ideas or you better keep quiet about it, because you will not advance, you will not receive awards and you will be ostracized.”

Adams wrote about the Ike Brown case for Pajamas Media here and here. It was brought in 2005 and marked the first time a voting rights action had been pursued against a minority defendant; as WaPo says, “Adams later told the civil rights commission that the decision to bring the Brown case caused bitter divisions in the voting section and opposition from civil rights groups.” Which is to say, apparently the institutional hostility to these actions inside the Civil Rights Division pre-dates Obama and his appointments. That’s how entrenched it is. As for the Panther case, WaPo reaches no formal conclusion but between those brutal quotes and the fact that legal experts are at a loss to explain why charges would be dismissed in an action where a default judgment had already been granted, you can draw your own conclusion. (Other officials told them that Holder was aware of the case but that the decision to drop the charges didn’t come from him.)

Not only am I amazed that they published this, I’m doubly amazed that they did it 10 days before a giant midterm. This is a “week after the election” story if ever there was one. Exit question: Second look at WaPo?

10904  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Decoupling: Alive and Well on: October 22, 2010, 07:53:52 PM

Decoupling: Alive and Well
October 21, 2010 - 6:07am — europac admin
Neeraj Chaudhary
Thursday, October 21, 2010

While the US economy continues to weaken (see my recent commentary: Don’t Doubt the Double-Dip), many foreign economies continue to experience solid – even spectacular – economic growth. When the global economic crisis began in 2008, many forecasters doubted that the world economy could return to growth without the US consumer. But the world is learning what Peter Schiff has long predicted: that the US consumer is a drag on the world economy, not an engine for growth. As “decoupling” becomes more apparent, emerging economies are forming trade links among themselves, accelerating the process of decline for the United States.
To get a better understanding of how decoupling works, it helps to picture a train in motion. Together, the cars and engine travel together on the track. Now imagine that last car, the caboose, detaches from the rest of the train. At first, the caboose travels at nearly the same speed as the rest of the train. The distance between the two is hardly discernable. Over time, however, the car slows down as friction and gravity take their toll. Meanwhile, the engine powers ahead. The distance between the caboose and the train gradually becomes greater and greater, until finally the engine is gone from sight, leaving the caboose sitting idle on the track.
This process describes how many of the world’s economies are steadily pulling away from the United States. As trade links grow between countries far from our shores (such as those being solidified between Asia and South America), the distance between the United States and the rest of the world is becoming larger, and decoupling is becoming more and more pronounced.
While the US economy sputtered to a 1.6% growth rate in the 2nd quarter (Q2), many Asian countries rapidly pulled away, powered by trade with each other and the rest of the world. In Q2, China’s economy grew a startling 10.3%. Americans would be thrilled with growth half that rate. Asia’s second rising star, India, expanded by a solid 8.8%. The Four Tigers also posted excellent numbers: Hong Kong grew at a 6.5% clip, South Korea at a faster 7.1%, and Taiwan at 12.53% – while Singapore clocked an astonishing 18.8% growth rate! If that’s not decoupling, I don’t know what is.
These numbers are not likely to be a short-term phenomenon. Instead, I feel they represent a dramatic realignment in the pattern of global economic activity. Economies that have long enjoyed a trade surplus are now less likely to loan money to broke and bloated deficit economies such as the United States. Instead, they are now more inclined to consume their own production or trade with other exporting nations. Indeed, China is now the largest trading partner for several of the world’s major economies, including Japan, South Korea, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Russia, and Brazil. Slowed by the gravity of excess debt and the friction of increasing taxes and regulation, the American caboose is straining to keep up.
But the trend is not limited to Asia. All around the world, countries with sound economic policies are continuing to expand. In fact, despite the attention paid to the so-called PIIGS, several European economies are also showing signs of decoupling. Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, grew at 2.2% in Q2 – its fastest rate in over 20 years! Switzerland expanded by 3.4% in the 2nd quarter, while Sweden and Finland grew by 4.6% and 3.7% respectively. Even historically tumultuous Poland boasted a 3.5% growth rate. Predictably, this growth has whetted Europe’s appetite for imports, causing the EU to recently surpass the US as China’s largest export market.
The trend also extends to producers of the single most important commodity in the world: oil. According to the Department of Energy, the US imports over 60% of its oil consumption; however, new production is increasingly being diverted to international markets, leaving our country vulnerable to 1970s-style shortages.
In the 1st quarter of this year, Saudi Arabia exported more oil to China than it did to the US. With a new growth market for its petroleum, Saudi Arabia is estimated to grow 3.9% this year. Russia grew at a rate of 5.2% in Q2, largely for the same reason. China is now believed to be Iran’s largest trading partner, according to some sources. And although the United States remains Venezuela’s largest trading partner, China’s nearly insatiable demand for oil has catapulted it into 2nd place for trade with this oil-exporting nation.
Whether you are looking at ASEAN, OPEC, or the EU, it is clear that decoupling is the order of the day. The world economy is rebuilding itself with China as its engine and hub. This is the essence of decoupling, and until recently, it was thought by many respected figures to be impossible.
In the old days, it was said that when the United States sneezed, the rest of the world caught a cold. This time, they might just excuse themselves and move to the next car.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Please feel free to repost with proper attribution and all links included.
10905  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: October 22, 2010, 07:17:43 PM
Note: The Glock 26 is a semi-automatic handgun, not a revolver. I very good one, I might add.
10906  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Thorium! on: October 22, 2010, 05:58:07 PM

Three to four times more plentiful than uranium, today's most common nuclear fuel, thorium packs a serious energetic punch: A single ton of it can generate as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, according to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Carlo Rubbia. In the mid-twentieth century, some U.S. physicists considered building the nuclear power landscape around thorium. But uranium-fueled reactors produced plutonium as a byproduct, a necessary ingredient for nuclear weapons production, and uranium ended up dominating through the Cold War and beyond.

Thorium could recapture the lead if a Virginia-based company called Lightbridge (formerly Thorium Power) fulfills its promise. Lightbridge was founded on the vision that the existing fleet of nuclear reactors would continue to function for decades to come, so its proprietary nuclear fuel assembly—which features a small amount of uranium surrounded by a blanket of thorium—is designed to work in light water reactors, the most common variety in service worldwide. The company is also developing an all-metal fuel capable of incorporating thorium. "This is like going from leaded to unleaded fuel for your car—the operation [of the reactors] is the same," says Seth Grae, Lightbridge's CEO.
10907  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 22, 2010, 05:22:18 PM
Our salvation, no matter what China does or does not do, is to get back into a free market, innovation based economy. Cut corporate taxes and watch foreign investment flood in. It is an utter shame that right now, it's easier to start up a cutting edge tech company in China rather than here. If we do not reverse this and other trends, our best option in the future will be as a tourism destination for wealthy asians.
10908  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Potential Gubernatorial Game-change in CO on: October 22, 2010, 03:46:03 PM

We Coloradans already know that Democrat gubernatorial candidate and Denver mayor John Hickenlooper doesn’t think much of folks outside his liberal metropolitan jurisdiction. Now, it’s documented on video. My friend and fellow Colorado resident Michael Sandoval at National Review has the scoop on Hickenlooper’s public contempt for “backwards” rural Colorado residents — which he shared with a left-wing interviewer late last year.
10909  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 22, 2010, 03:19:58 PM
Believe me, I in no way want us to continue our destructive spending habits. We MUST address it immediately. However, until we get our feces coagulated, we had better not make things worse with a neo-Smoot-Hawley act.
10910  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: October 22, 2010, 11:06:05 AM

It doesn't seem to vary much from the threads found here.
10911  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: October 21, 2010, 11:07:55 PM

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Muslim Brotherhood) likens resistance to Islamic supremacism to racism
Ellison.jpg$13,350 from the group that wants to destroy the West from within

As I noted in December 2008, when it was first revealed that Ellison's Hajj was paid for with $13,350 from the Muslim American Society:

The Muslim Brotherhood "must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions." -- "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America," by Mohamed Akram, May 19, 1991.

What does that have to do with Congressman Ellison? Everything. The Muslim American Society paid for his Hajj. And what is the Muslim American Society? The Muslim Brotherhood.

"In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation's major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members." -- Chicago Tribune, 2004.
10912  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: October 21, 2010, 11:03:55 PM
Ellison, like Obama is anti-american first.
10913  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 21, 2010, 10:31:42 PM
Of course, that would never happen now.

Mohamed Elibiary was one of the speakers at a December 2004 conference in Dallas entitled "A Tribute to the Great Islamic Visionary," Ayatollah Khomeini. When Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News called him on this, he threatened Dreher, telling him: "Expect someone to put a banana in your exhaust pipe."

Fox Guarding Henhouse Alert: "Secretary Napolitano Swears in Homeland Security Advisory Council Members," from the Department of Homeland Security, October 15 (thanks to Jeff):

    Washington, D.C. - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano swore in three new members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) during her latest tri-annual meeting with HSAC, which took place at DHS headquarters this week. The HSAC is comprised of experts from state, local and tribal governments, emergency and first responder communities, academia and the private sector who provide recommendations and advice to the Secretary of Homeland Security on a variety of homeland security issues.

    The new members include: former New York City Police Commissioner and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, who will join as vice-chair to former CIA and FBI Director Judge William Webster; Massachusetts General Hospital Director of Police, Security and Outside Services Bonnie Michelman; and Freedom and Justice Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Elibiary. [...]
10914  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 21, 2010, 10:24:05 PM
I like Juan Williams. As far as liberals go, he not a bad guy. He actually will concede a point now and then.

As far as moderate muslims go, here is a good example of one we invited into the pentagon:

Anwar al-Awlaki - the radical spiritual leader linked to several 9/11 attackers, the Fort Hood shooting, and the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an airliner - was a guest at the Pentagon in the months after 9/11, a Pentagon official confirmed to CBS News.

Awlaki was invited as "...part of an informal outreach program" in which officials sought contact "...with leading members of the Muslim community," the official said. At that time, Awlaki was widely viewed as a "moderate" imam at a mosque in Northern Virginia.

At the same time, the FBI was also interviewing Awlaki about his contacts with three of the 9/11 attackers - Nawaf al-Hazmi, Khalid al Midhar and Hani Hanjour - who were all part of the crew of five that hijacked the American Airlines jet that hit the Pentagon.

In the days after 9/11, Awlaki told FBI officials he remembered meeting al Hazmi but recalled little else about him. It is believed Awlaki met both al Hazmi and al Midhar in 2000 when Awlaki was the imam at a mosque in San Diego. Awlaki later moved to Northern Virginia and al Hazmi was seen at the Virginia mosque as well. However, there are scant details about Awlaki’s actual contacts with al Midhar and Hani Hanjour.

In 2001, the FBI did not share this investigative information with the Pentagon, but officials say there was no reason to - Awlaki was not a suspect and was not believed to be connected to the 9/11 attacks. Instead he was viewed as a valuable liaison to the Muslim community and a potential investigative source. As one official put it, "he was a much different guy back then."

Still, it's not clear what kind of vetting or background check was done by the Defense Department before Awlaki was allowed into the building.
10915  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 21, 2010, 10:14:08 PM

Hemmed in by mountains and the sea, Wenzhou’s land shortage forced its inhabitants into trade. Now, it’s China’s capital of capitalism. Ninety-nine percent of all business in the city is private sector, according to Wenzhou government statistics.

And those entrepreneurs have been phenomenally successful: Last year, one in every three Chinese tourists overseas was from Wenzhou and one-tenth of China’s luxury cars ended up in this city of 8 million.

Nowhere is the Wenzhou love of making money — and flaunting it — more apparent than the city’s only Louis Vuitton store. As soft Muzak chimes in the background, brand-conscious shoppers finger the $300 key rings and ogle the leather bags.

“We all like LV (Louis Vuitton) for bags, since everyone knows this brand,” says a man who identifies himself as Mr. Wu. He does a quick inventory of his wardrobe: bag by Louis Vuitton, shoes by Gucci, stripy cotton sweater by Paul & Shark with a $600 price tag. “Very expensive, but it’s worth it,” he adds, beaming in a self-satisfied manner.

Mrs. Jin is more sniffy about Louis Vuitton. “It’s too vulgar nowadays,” she says dismissively. “The streets are awash with it. I prefer Chanel, it’s more elegant.”

Chen Wenda started a lighter-parts factory at age 18. Two decades later, the millionaire owns a shoe factory, a wine business, real estate interests and a soccer team. He started the wine business to appeal to the brash, high-rolling millionaires of Wenzhou, where Chen says people like to flaunt their wealth more than in any other place in China.

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify

One 30-something millionaire, Chen Wenda, is aiming to cash in on the famed Wenzhou flashiness with his wine cellar stuffed full of Chateau Lafite and Petrus.

His trajectory follows a typical Wenzhou path. In 1988, at age 18, he started a lighter-part factory. Then he diversified. Now he has a shoe factory, an import-export business, a wine business, real-estate interests, and for the past two years, his own personal soccer team, which costs him half-a-million dollars a year. He describes the Wenzhou way of making money.

“I set up businesses and drop those that don’t make money, like the lighter-part factory. No one puts their eggs in one basket,” he explains.

“In Wenzhou, every single person does real estate. Everyone is pushing up the prices of buildings. We dare to do stuff. We’re not scared. And everyone wants to be their own boss,” he says.

These days, one in every ten bottles of wine drunk in China is guzzled in Wenzhou, as an accompaniment to deal-making. But Chen says the businessmen here are too busy making money to bother with the niceties of wine drinking.

“If they think that wine is too sour, they might add Coke to make it go down smoothly. If that’s what they want to do, that’s fine,” he adds. “I don’t see the need to emphasize European wine culture. Wenzhou people are too busy to do all of that. They have to meet people and do business.”
10916  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 21, 2010, 08:21:12 PM

Smith’s first masterpiece, the Theory of Moral Sentiments, has been translated into Chinese for the first time, and Chris Berry, professor at Glasgow University, where Smith wrote the book, will next week deliver lectures on it at Fudan University in Shanghai.

China’s Premier, Wen Jiabao, has said he often carries the work – which preceded his more famous work The Wealth of Nations – in his suitcase when he goes abroad. Prof Berry said the earlier book emphasised the importance “not only [of] their material prosperity but also their moral welfare”.

**Anyone think Barry-O will flip through a chapter or two between golf sessions? Me either.**

10917  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 21, 2010, 08:06:57 PM
Good thing you don't work for NPR. I'm sure that's hate speech too.....  rolleyes

This should be on constant rotation on prime time tv.
10918  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 21, 2010, 06:48:39 PM
BBG, can you post a link? I'm not seeing what you posted.
10919  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This is our future on: October 20, 2010, 08:18:33 PM

This is our future

This is our future if we don't change our ways.

Exhibit A: England faces the largest budget cuts since World War II.

Exhibit B: France is tearing itself apart over a move to bring state pensions under control.

This is the end result of the welfare-state. The Europeans (and Democrats here at home) want a utopia where all needs are met, all the hungry are fed, all the children warm and safe, all the sick made whole, all the evil punished and the innocent made free, a land where all is peace and all live in harmony. Instead, the welfare-state is waste and weakness and impoverishment and upheaval and ennui. It is generational warfare, class warfare, enormous debts, squalor, meanness, shortages, selfishness. It is, at base, the end of civil society. Communist economies fall faster because they take the poison pure; it takes the merely socialist ones more time to sicken and die.

It is not clear to me that either England or France will be able to make these reforms "stick". England might perhaps have more of a chance than France does, but even in Albion the days of Dame Margaret Thatcher are well past -- much of the country not only relies on the dole (and I count the NHS as part of that), but remembers nothing else. Entire generations of citizens have been born and grew to adulthood in a land of a debased civil society, outlandish political promises and a hidebound, near-moribund private sector. A country with "free" healthcare, a generous welfare system where it was often more remunerative not to work, and a private sector so sclerotic and union-infested that a structural unemployment rate of 8-10% was accepted as perfectly normal. Young people pursue endless, meaningless degrees (using state-provided funds more often than not) and have basically given up on the antiquated notions of marriage and family, to say nothing of religion. (No building in England is so empty as a Christian church nowadays.)

It's no accident that Germany is doing so much better in relative terms than England and France. Germany had to re-assert the traditional Teutonic work-ethic after World War II out of absolute necessity. The re-integration of East Germany in the 1990's forced them to be even more efficient, more productive, more financially conservative. England and France, contrarily, went the route of social welfare -- the more "liberal" route. And in the end instead of reaping "fairness" and societal harmony, they reaped instead penury and unrest. The redistributionist route led -- as it always, always does -- to a dead end.

We see our future playing out in England and France right now. Only our upheavals are going to be much larger and more violent than theirs. Our population is larger, more diverse, and more polarized; our politics more fraught; our debts and obligations massively larger. Our passions are harder to rouse, but once aflame, take a long time to burn out.

As in France, we have let an enormous segment of our population -- perhaps as much as half -- fall into a state where they depend on government largesse for a substantial part of their income. This is not money they earned themselves, not wages or savings, but rather money squeezed from the more productive half of the country. Half of our citizens pay no income taxes at all. An increasing number will draw public-sector pensions, Social Security, and medical insurance (Medicare/Medicaid) in amounts that far exceed what they contributed to those plans. Half of the US population, in short, lives not by the fruits of their own toil but by the (coerced) charity of others, as filtered and distilled through the hand of the government. This can not -- it can not, by the laws of economics and simple physics -- continue. The mathematics of the problem trump even philosophical issues of fairness, of governance, of ethics or law. The mathematics simply will not allow it.

Consider the French. They are rioting over a proposal to raise the national age of retirement from 60 to 62. Germany's is 65 (going to 67) -- how happy will German workers be to subsidize the early retirements of their French neighbors? The French labor unions are on a rampage, denouncing the move as a violation of a "promise" the country made to the workers. (If this reminds you of California, New Jersey, New York, and Michigan -- well, the situations are closely analogous.) The word "promise" is illuminating: people have stopped thinking of social welfare as a "benefit" or a "perquisite", and have begun instead to think of it as a "right" or a "promise". A legally-binding promise which cannot be broken, though the heavens fall. Well, the heavens are falling, and the sovereigns will discover a universal truth: a government "promise" is not a suicide pact. Reality will assert itself, one way or another.

Governments the world over are discovering that the river of money is not endless. That seemingly-inexhaustable mountain of wealth has been turned into an ocean of debt that will take decades to pay off. The spendthrift habits of the Western nations will put burdens on our children, and other generations not yet born, that should outrage us as a people. We are investing in the old rather than the young, and are punishing risk-taking and entrepreneurship rather than rewarding it. Our tax regimes seem to be deliberately crafted to kill innovation and long-term thinking. (What does "legacy" mean if the wealth I have accumulated in my life cannot be passed on to my children or heirs, but is instead eaten by the all-consuming government?) Young people -- young families -- are the foundation upon which Western Civilization is built. Neglect them, overburden them, cheat them, and you are committing societal suicide.

One measure of how self-destructive Europe has become can be seen in the birthrate. In developed countries like France, the birthrate among natives has plummeted to below the replacement rate (though some dispute this). Among immigrants who share little cultural affinity with the French (or are actively hostile to it), the birthrate has soared. What this means in 20 or 30 years is that what is "French" (or "English" or "American") will be determined by those same children. The same goes for Spain, for Portugal, for Germany, for England -- indeed, for the entire continent. (America at least has a positive population growth, albeit not by much. And our immigrants are also outbreeding the natives by a wide margin.) Demographics is a game of last man standing: the people who make the laws 20 or 30 years from now are the babies being born today. If you don't produce children, you have no voice in the future.

If the governments of the West have an excuse -- however weak and puling -- it is this: they meant well. It is not wrong to wish that every citizen have free health care, free food, free housing, and some money to spend even if they have no job. It's not wrong; it's just impossible. Health care is a service that has huge costs associated with it. These costs cannot be "magicked" away just because we find them inconvenient. Food must be grown, transported, packaged, and prepared -- all costs that must be accounted for. Shelter does not precipitate out of thin air. We cannot delude ourselves into thinking that "the government" can provide these things to us at no cost, because "the government" must pay for these things just as individuals do, and because the government has only one source of wealth -- the citizens -- that's where it must go for the money. So if Bob is given 'free' health care, 'free' food, and a 'free' apartment, the government isn't paying for it; Tom, Jane, Howard, and Sue are paying for it. And at a vastly inflated cost due to the innate governmental inefficiency that dilutes every dollar that passes through their hands. Soon the social welfare costs eat up the money intended for good and necessary governmental expenditures like the military, the police, and infrastructure. Social welfare becomes a beast that eats everything.

We are living in an age where citizens will have to re-think their basic relationship to their government, and to each other. The government is not -- cannot be -- the cornucopia that provides for all needs for all citizens. It cannot even provide for most needs for most citizens. The math only works if the producers outnumber the welfare recipients, and by quite a large margin; but this margin is long gone. France and England blew past the 50% mark long ago. The United States is teetering on the edge of a 50/50 split.

Citizens must once again be taught that they, and only they, are responsible for their lives. A civilized nation provides for the helpless, the weak, and the defenseless. But it does not expand the definition of those words so broadly that it encompasses half of its citizens. A nation that values self-reliance and ambition must accept that "opportunity" emcompasses the possibility of failure. Failure -- even ruin -- is a necessary and inevitable part of any market-based economy. You cannot engineer failure out of the equation without rendering it meaningless.

As I said, I am not hopeful for most of Europe (and even Germany is weaker than it seems). England may yet surprise me, but their culture is weaker now than it has ever been. The primary ingredient of recovery is will, and I just don't know if the dependent scions of Albion have enough left to climb out of the hole they're in.

Which brings us to America. Do we have the will to climb out of the gargantuan hole we have dug ourselves into? It remains an open question. I find encouragement in the rise of the Tea Party, but discouragement in the sweeping victory of Barack Obama. Half of my fellow citizens would prefer to bleed the body politic until it dies; as long as they do not outlast the flow of money, they care nothing for what comes after. But I care about legacy, about culture, and about the whole idea of America as a place where you can go as far as talent and ambition can take you. The unfortunate fact, though, is that much talent and ambition will have to be expended in simply paying off our massive debt, and in reforming our nonsensical entitlement programs. (I've said it many times, but it bears repeating: if you're not going to reform Social Security and Medicare, then don't bother doing anything, because it won't matter anyway.)

We are poised on the edge of a knife. On one side: bankruptcy, insolvency, and dissolution. On the other: a reinvigorated individualism, a sense of the government as servant of the people, not the master.

France is lost; England is sinking. America must survive if Western Civilization is to have any hope at all of surviving the perils yet to come.
10920  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / O'Donnell, the 1st and the WaPo's memory hole on: October 20, 2010, 04:37:14 PM

Purged, not corrected.
10921  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Stretching on: October 20, 2010, 04:32:56 PM
I'd go in to have a medical professional check it out. It sounds like it's resolved it's self, but you want to be sure. As someone who has suffered several back injuries in the line of duty, I can tell you that's crucial to take care of your back. I've been unable to get out of bed or reduced to using a cane while hunched over like an elderly man at times because of back injuries. Don't take your back for granted.
10922  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 20, 2010, 02:03:48 PM
We are in no position to get into a trade war with anyone, much less China. We need free trade and we need them to ignore how they are throwing money away continuing to fund our irresponsible spending habits. Like I said before, the low yuan actually helps US consumers. A 40% increase in Chinese made goods would cause tangible pain for us and would not result in comparable increase in employment domestically.
10923  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 20, 2010, 01:55:37 PM
The goalposts have been moved so often, they aren't even in the same state as the football field. Remember how the repubs were nothing but a regional political party in the southeastern US after 2008. Remember how Obama was to usher in 40 years of far left dem dominance in American politics?

The actual survival of the US is in doubt. There is an ugly, looming crisis that isn't going away and won't be fixed by politics as usual.
10924  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 20, 2010, 01:40:29 PM
China sells to the world. China buys our debt, and Chinese consumers are increasingly buying US made products. The cheaper yuan means the American consumer's dollar goes farther at Walmart. Obama's pandering to his union goons will not end up creating jobs, just making consumer goods more expensive.

The Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act supporters though it was going to bring jobs back in the great depression, instead it like much of what was done by the dems lengthened and worsened it. China believes it can take the pain, and if needed, it will let the PLA party like it's 1989 should the street protests get out of hand.

We, on the other hand can tolerate much less pain as a society. China calculates that we will blink first, and China is correct in that assessment. So all this financial saber rattling will accomplish is to place China in a better position than when we started.
10925  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: October 20, 2010, 09:55:00 AM
Good point.
10926  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / In Obama's Chicago, stimulus weatherization money buys shoddy work, widespread f on: October 20, 2010, 08:19:51 AM

Report: In Obama's Chicago, stimulus weatherization money buys shoddy work, widespread fraud
By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
10/19/10 6:06 PM EDT

Projects to weatherize homes are a key part of the Obama administration's fusion of stimulus spending and the green agenda. But a new report by the Department of Energy has found serious problems in stimulus-funded weatherization work -- problems so severe that they have resulted in homes that are not only not more energy efficient but are actually dangerous for people to live in.

The study, by the Department's inspector general, examined the work of what's called the Weatherization Assistance Program, or WAP, in Illinois. Last year, the Department awarded Illinois $242 million, which was expected to pay for the weatherization of 27,000 homes. Specifically, Energy Department inspectors took a close look at the troubled operations of the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, known as CEDA, which is the largest recipient of weatherization money in Illinois with $91 million to weatherize 12,500 homes.  (Cook County is, of course, home to Chicago.)

The findings are grim. "Our testing revealed substandard performance in weatherization workmanship, initial assessments, and contractor billing," the inspector general report says. "These problems were of such significance that they put the integrity of the entire program at risk."

Department inspectors visited 15 homes that were being weatherized by CEDA and paid for by stimulus funds. "We found that 14 of the 15 homes…failed final inspection because of poor workmanship and/or inadequate initial assessments," the report says. In eight of the homes, CEDA had come up with unworkable and ineffective plans -- like putting attic insulation in a house with a leaky roof. In ten of the homes, "contractors billed for labor charges that had not been incurred and for materials that had not been installed." The report calls billing problems "pervasive," with seven of ten contractors being cited for erroneous invoicing. And the department found "a 62 percent final inspection error rate" when CEDA inspectors reviewed their own work.

The work was not just wasteful; it was dangerous. Department inspectors found "heat barriers around chimneys that had not been installed, causing fire hazards." They found "a furnace [that] had not been vented properly." The found "a shut-off valve that had not been installed on a gas stove." And they found "carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers had not been installed as planned."
10927  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 19, 2010, 09:50:38 PM
Playing protectionist games with China will hurt us far worse than it will them. I cringe to think how this will play out with the cokehead in chief doing the decision making.
10928  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Unrestricted economic warfare on: October 19, 2010, 08:53:19 PM
October 19, 2010
China to Halt Some Exports to U.S.

HONG KONG — China, which has been blocking shipments of crucial minerals to Japan for the last month, has now quietly halted shipments of those materials to the United States and Europe, three industry officials said on Tuesday.

The Chinese action, involving rare earth minerals that are crucial to manufacturing many advanced products, seems certain to further intensify already rising trade and currency tensions with the West. Until recently, China typically sought quick and quiet accommodations on trade issues. But the interruption in rare earth supplies is the latest sign from Beijing that Chinese leaders are willing to use their growing economic muscle.

“The embargo is expanding” beyond Japan, said one of the three rare earth industry officials, all of whom insisted on anonymity for fear of business retaliation by Chinese authorities.

They said Chinese customs officials imposed the broader restrictions on Monday morning, hours after a top Chinese official summoned international news media Sunday night to denounce United States trade actions.

China mines 95 percent of the world’s rare earth elements, which have broad commercial and military applications, and are vital to the manufacture of products as diverse as cellphones, large wind turbines and guided missiles. Any curtailment of Chinese supplies of rare earths is likely to be greeted with alarm in Western capitals, particularly because Western companies are believed to keep much smaller stockpiles of rare earths than Japanese companies.
10929  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 19, 2010, 06:30:11 PM
Sounds good to me.
10930  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak on: October 19, 2010, 12:57:13 PM
Want to defeat the Talibs in Afghanistan? Kill the head of the snake. It's Pakistan's ISI.

Pakistan's powerful intelligence services were heavily involved in preparations for the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008, according to classified Indian government documents obtained by the Guardian.

A 109-page report into the interrogation of key suspect David Headley, a Pakistani-American militant arrested last year and detained in the US, makes detailed claims of ISI support for the bombings.

Under questioning, Headley described dozens of meetings between officers of the main Pakistani military intelligence service, the ISI, and senior militants from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group responsible for the Mumbai attacks.

He claims a key motivation for the ISI in aiding the attacks was to bolster militant organisations with strong links to the Pakistani state and security establishment who were being marginalised by more extreme radical groups.

Headley, who undertook surveillance of the targets in Mumbai for the operation, claims that at least two of his missions were partly paid for by the ISI and that he regularly reported to the spy agency. However, the documents suggest that supervision of the militants by the ISI was often chaotic and that the most senior officers of the agency may have been unaware at least of the scale and ambition of the operation before it was launched.

More than 160 people were killed by militants from LeT who arrived by sea to attack luxury hotels, a Jewish centre, a café, a hospital and the main railway station in Mumbai, the Indian commercial capital. Casualties included citizens from 25 countries, including four Americans killed and seven Britons injured. The attacks dominated media for days and badly damaged already poor Indian-Pakistan relations.

European and American security services now fear that LeT, which has thousands of militants, runs dozens of training camps and has extensive logistic networks overseas, is moving from what has been a largely regional agenda – focused on the disputed Himalayan former princely state of Kashmir – to a global agenda involving strikes against the west or western interests. The documents suggest the fierce internal argument within the organisation over its strategic direction is being won by hardliners.

Headley, interviewed over 34 hours by Indian investigators in America in June, described how "a debate had begun among the terrorist outfits" and "a clash of ideology" leading to "splits".

"The aggression and commitment to jihad shown by several splinter groups in Afghanistan influenced many committed fighters to leave [LeT]," Headley said. "I understand this compelled the LeT to consider a spectacular terrorist strike in India."

Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani, told the investigators that the ISI hoped the Mumbai attack would slow or stop growing "integration" between groups active in Kashmir, with whom the agency had maintained a long relationship, and "Taliban-based outfits" in Pakistan and Afghanistan which were a threat to the Pakistani state.

"The ISI … had no ambiguity in understanding the necessity to strike India," Headley is reported to have said. The aim of the agency was "controlling further split in the Kashmir-based outfits, providing them a sense of achievement and shifting … the theatre of violence from the domestic soil of Pakistan to India."

Headley describes meeting once with a "Colonel Kamran" from the military intelligence service and having a series of meetings with a "Major Iqbal" and a "Major Sameer Ali". A fellow conspirator was handled by a Colonel Shah, he claims. Headley also alleges that he was given $25,000 by his ISI handler to finance one of eight surveillance missions in India.
10931  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 19, 2010, 11:24:45 AM
"We pumped $3 trillion of crude, Keynesian deficit stimulus into this economy."

Well said!
10932  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We're just too stupid to grasp Obama's greatness on: October 19, 2010, 11:08:12 AM

WEST NEWTON, Mass. - President Barack Obama said Americans' "fear and frustration" is to blame for an intense midterm election cycle that threatens to derail the Democratic agenda.

"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hardwired not to always think clearly when we're scared," Obama said Saturday evening in remarks at a small Democratic fundraiser Saturday evening. "And the country's scared."

Obama told the several dozen donors that he was offering them his "view from the Oval Office." He faulted the economic downturn for Americans’ inability to "think clearly" and said the burden is on Democrats "to break through the fear and the frustration people are feeling."
10933  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 19, 2010, 10:38:12 AM
I expect Obamacorn voter fraud will be in full effect in NV, doing their best for Dingy Harry.
10934  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 19, 2010, 10:21:26 AM
I think Angle will win in NV. O'Donnell will lose in DE and I do not anticipate the reps will take the senate.
10935  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 19, 2010, 10:10:38 AM

The Electronic Wasteland

November 18, 2008 9:04 AM

Where do the millions of computer monitors, cell phones and other electronic refuse our society generates end up? Scott Pelley reports.
10936  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 18, 2010, 10:58:59 AM
Recycling electronics is expensive and creates serious environmental impacts. Most of our e-waste is sent to China for processing.
10937  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 17, 2010, 04:23:55 PM
Humans are hunter-gatherers by nature. Our existence using agriculture and high tech is but a tick of the evolutionary clock. As a hunter-gatherer, very few environments have an easy access to sweet or fatty food. We crave them because they are very useful/valuable and rare in that setting. No hunter-gatherers suffered from obesity. They ate as much as possible, because one never knew when/if the next meal was coming. Now we still have the same inborn impulses, but a very different access to food and much less in the way of physical demands for most of us.
10938  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The real islamophobes on: October 17, 2010, 11:06:34 AM

JON SCOTT, HOST: You know, cartoon strips have been around since, well, even longer than Cal [Thomas] has been writing his column, and have been used to poke fun at everything including politicians, even religions – except for one. Here’s “Red Eye” host Greg Gutfeld.

GREG GUTFELD: So the Washington Post removed the October 3 “Non Sequitur” cartoon from its rag. The reason? It mentioned, not showed, Mohammed. There wasn’t even a picture of him anywhere. But the Post and some other papers still pulled it.

Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander asked his style editor why, and he said, “It seemed a deliberate provocation without a clear message.” He added that “the point of the joke was not immediately clear.”

Yeah, the reason is ambiguity. Weasel. Anyway, here’s the cartoon. Yeah, that’s really outrageous. And so here we see another callow editor making a cowardly decision based on a fear of upsetting religious fanatics, a fear he can’t even admit to his co-workers. Which leads me to my only point: why is it that the media keeps reminding us that we shouldn’t exaggerate the threat of a small group of radicals, but then completely changes tact when it comes to their own personal safety?

Think about it: if the average Joe expresses anxiety over Islamic fundamentalism, they’re called Islamophobes. But if an editor removes a comic in which Mohammed isn’t even present, that’s not honest to Allah Islamophobia?

Look, the media can’t have it both ways. They cannot criticize the public for concerns over Islam and then pull this stunt over a fear they may get stabbed in front of a Starbucks. If their governing principle in the newsroom is fear, then they should admit it and get the hell off our backs for feeling pretty much the same way.

For “Fox News Watch,” I’m Greg Gutfeld.

Read more:
10939  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 17, 2010, 10:37:26 AM

    Lebanese Liberal: Cordoba Initiative Chairman Abdul Rauf Is Not Truly Moderate

In a September 19, 2010 article on the liberal website Elaph, Lebanese journalist Joseph Bishara wrote that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, does not really believe in tolerance. He stated that Rauf is deceiving the public based on the Islamic principle of taqiyya (concealing one's true beliefs) – that is, he is hiding his real intentions, which are to spread Islam in the U.S. while exploiting the liberties granted him by the U.S. Constitution.

Following are excerpts from Bishara's article:[1]   

"Abdul Rauf's Statements Raised Many Questions In My Mind – For I Do Not Believe That Islam Is Compatible With the Principles and Customs of American Society"

"Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is mentioned almost daily on the news, ever since he entered into conflict with over 70% of the American public over the mosque he wishes to build near [the former site of] the Twin Towers in New York. Until quite recently, most people had never even heard of him, but now he has become one of the [country's] biggest celebrities, pursued by news agencies and media channels [alike]. He became famous after he and some of his Muslim partners purchased an old building, only a few meters away from [Ground Zero], in order to build, according to his statement, a large public facility that will include a mosque.

"Abdul Rauf provoked the American public when he released his plan [to build his Islamic center] near the place that, in the Americans' eyes, has been sanctified by the blood of the hundreds [sic] of people who died in the 9/11 attacks.

"The American right is using all its influence to try and persuade the public to demand the removal of the planned mosque to another location. To this end, it is presenting Abdul Rauf's statements and positions [to the public], so as to show that the man is not [really] moderate, that their apprehensions are well-founded, namely that the building of the mosque will be construed by the extremist Islamists as a victory...

"The American right accuses Abdul Rauf of extremism, of supporting terrorist organizations, and of refusing to condemn terror. Among his statements that the Americans have presented as damning are his claim that the U.S. administration was behind 9/11, that bin Laden is a product of U.S. [policy], that the 9/11 attacks benefited Islam and constitute an important milestone in the history of Islam in the U.S., and that the number of Muslims killed by the U.S. is larger than the number of Americans killed in 9/11.

"The Americans have also criticized Abdul Rauf for refusing to condemn terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hizbullah, and for saying that the U.S. must admit it has harmed Muslims [if it wants] terrorism to stop.

"I was disinclined to accept the position of the right-wing American media on Rauf without any evidence, so I decided... to follow his statements in order to discover what he is like and what his positions really are. One of his statements that caught my attention had to do with his efforts to Americanize Islam. He did not explain what he meant by this, so [the statements] was difficult to understand. I asked myself: How is it possible to paint Islam in American colors, when the Muslims condemn the U.S. as a land of heresy and hedonism, and as a land of perversions and licentiousness?

"Abdul Rauf's statements raised many questions in my mind, for I do not believe that Islam is compatible with the principles and customs of American society, which are based upon the sanctifying of complete freedom... I told myself: if American culture is compatible with Islam, why then do Islamic scholars associate it with the devil's unholiness, and why do most Muslims throughout the world reject it?...

"After thinking long and hard about Abdul Rauf's statements, which stirred many doubts [in my mind] about the man, I concluded that his statement [about Americanizing Islam] could have [only three possible goals]: to generate a media storm, to convince the Americans that Islam is tolerant and can advance along with the culture in which it exists, or to convince the Americans that Islam and the American culture have principles in common. I rejected the second and third goals, because I believe that Islam, which is regarded by its adherents as sacred and absolute, is not compatible with American culture, which allows individuals to reject the absolute and rebel against the sacred."       

The Islamic Shari'a Is Incompatible with the U.S. Constitution

"A few days after making his statement about Americanizing Islam, Adbul Rauf made another statement – a very strange one that increased my suspicions regarding the goals of his illogical proclamations. He said that '90% of the laws of the Islamic shari'a are fully compatible with the Articles of the American Constitution,' and that 'the disagreements between the two are few and insignificant.' This statement is not merely puzzling but [totally] ludicrous.

"Abdul Rauf seems to think, with peculiar naiveté, that all those who hear him are stupid and ignorant, and know nothing about the real facts... because I know that the Islamic shari'a grants privileges only to Muslims, and not to others. The laws of the shari'a do not treat non-Muslims as [equal] citizens, but as dhimmis, who do not have the same rights and duties as Muslims. I asked myself: how can the shari'a be fully compatible with the U.S. Constitution? How can the seven Articles of the U.S. Constitution, which safeguard its institutionalized secular democracy that guarantee freedoms and equality to [all] citizens, be compatible with the Islamic shari'a, which places the fate of countries and peoples in the hands of an unworthy religious elite?

"The U.S. Constitution is man-made, modern and compatible with [today's] reality. It separates church from state; guarantees [rights] and dignity [even] to criminals; grants freedom of speech, worship and the press; prohibits violating the citizens' right to protection; grants equal [status] to all citizens and [safeguards] the political rights of women.

"How can this constitution be compatible with the Islamic shari'a, which is immutable and not compatible with the times, makes religion a political matter and politics a religious matter, [advocates] chopping off body parts [as a punishment for criminals], designates Islam as the true religion and all other religions as heresy, threatens the safety of non-Muslims and treats them as dhimmis... and subjects women to male domination?"     

Imam Abdul Rauf Is Deceiving the Public

"Imam Abdul Rauf's statements raised many questions that I could not answer. But all these questions helped me understand that he is mocking the Americans, while counting on [the fact that] most of them are ignorant of the facts, on the American law that guarantees his rights... and on the Americans' fear of terrorism and their wish never to see another event like 9/11.

"Imam Abdul Rauf calls for moderation, but his actions say otherwise. He is not trying to Americanize Islam, as he claims, because that is not possible. [On the contrary], he is trying to Islamize America by demanding to implement the Islamic shari'a and through his attempt to convince the Americans that Islam and the Islamic shari'a are compatible with the American culture and constitution.

"Abdul Rauf says he is trying to build bridges among religions, and that he is a man of peace trying to illuminate the tolerant face of Islam. But his illogical statements and his provocative actions reveal him in a different light. He is employing [the principle of] taqiyya,[2] which is sanctioned by the shari'a, in order to Islamize America."

[1], September 19, 2010.

[2] A principle which permits a Muslim to conceal his true beliefs or intentions, in order to protect his life or attain a worthy goal.
10940  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Why I don't have a smart phone on: October 15, 2010, 06:28:19 PM

Note that this is all private industry.
10941  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 15, 2010, 07:51:51 AM
In the US, the poor have lots of food and little activity. In China, their poor have little food and lots of physical activity. It's in the cities, with the new wealth and "American-like" lifestyles that you'll find obesity a problem.
10942  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 14, 2010, 10:34:09 PM

China's cities are getting bigger. Vast apartment complexes rise from land cleared for rebuilding. There's a constant hum of construction cranes and motion across the horizon. China's middle class is getting bigger, better educated, better paid. Millions of new consumers flock to the new shopping centers, freed from the hard physical labor of their parents and grandparents.

All that change has consequences. The Chinese are getting bigger, too, and fast. "The New England Journal of Medicine" reports that 19 million people in China are now obese. And while the small percentage of overweight people here still falls well short of America's epidemic, China's rapid rate of increased obesity, 30 to 50 percent annually -- that's six million to 10 million more each year -- has alarmed health officials.

In the course of just a few decades, China has moved from being a society with a fear of periodic famine to one where the rapidly rising rate of obesity is a serious public health threat.

Dr. Mi Jie is a pediatrician who is studying the phenomenon.

DR. MI JIE, pediatrician (through translator): During the last 30 years of economic development, people's living standards have improved rapidly. Their lifestyles have changed enormously. More money means more food.

RAY SUAREZ: Dr. Mi is trying to convince parents that giving their children more food just because they can afford more food will eventually become a health burden for that child.

DR. MI JIE (through translator): Most obese children don't have an immediate health risk, but health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, will occur in 20 or 30 years, when they become adults, because health problems don't appear until adulthood. Parents don't see the problems. And they don't take action.

In fact, the traditional thinking in China is that children need to be fat, and that means the child is healthy and strong. This concept, of course, is wrong.

RAY SUAREZ: Western fast-food restaurants have become part of urban Chinese culture.

I just want to know what everybody's favorite food is at McDonald's.

CHILD: Hamburger. Coke.

WOMAN (through translator): The kids these days, they can eat whatever they want. When I was young, I was from a poor family, and we didn't have enough to eat. All we had were potatoes.

RAY SUAREZ: Paul French is the author of a soon-to-be-released book titled "Fat China."

PAUL FRENCH, author, "Fat China": They are extremely proud. And what we have here, of course, is a one-child policy, which is not enforced everywhere, but is still the norm.

So, now we have a generation coming through that not only have no siblings, but have no aunts and uncles. This has led to what we might term here the six-pocket syndrome, which is where every child, or little emperor, as they're known here, has two parents and four grandparents.

And those four grandparents and two parents don't really have anything to spend their money on except that child. So, they are lavishing that child. They are arguably spoiling that one child. And, of course, after generations of -- of not having enough, people don't want to say no to children. They want to give them everything. They want to let them enjoy the prosperity, rather than the austerity that they knew in their childhood.

RAY SUAREZ: According to the World Health Organization, between 5 percent and 10 percent of Chinese youth are now obese. Some of them make their way to the equivalent of a fat farm.

Here at the Aimin Fat Reduction Hospital, patients are not only introduced to healthier foods and daily exercise; they're also given traditional Chinese medical treatments, like acupuncture.

DR. SHI LIDONG, chief executive, Aimin Fat Reduction Hospital (through translator): With acupuncture, we want to control the appetite, the desire of eating, and so they won't feel very hungry. We use it to improve digestion and to break down the fat.

RAY SUAREZ: Dr. Shi Lidong is the hospital's chief executive.

DR. SHI LIDONG (through translator): The appearance of the body is not important to us. Our goal is to change their lifestyle, help them understand what to eat and what not to eat.

RAY SUAREZ: The parents of 19-year-old Ma Chanwang paid for his visit to Aimin. His goal is to lose 40 pounds. Now in his fifth day, he's already lost 15.

MAN (through translator): I started gaining weight when I was 8 years old. And I never stopped gaining. I like to eat deep-fried food, and I can't control my appetite.

RAY SUAREZ: As American-owned fast-food joints pop up around the country, they have been followed by another American cultural symbol: Weight Watchers. At Weight Watchers in Shanghai, program director Shan Jin works with clients to limit the amount of food at mealtime.
10943  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: October 14, 2010, 07:42:51 PM

One of the famous definitions of insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over again while expecting a different result. Whether that’s a perfect definition is open to debate, but one thing is certain: it’s as accurate a description of the California electorate at this moment in 2010 as you could get.
10944  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: October 14, 2010, 07:28:12 PM


    Why are important projects now unaffordable? Decades ago, when the federal and state governments were much smaller, they had the means to undertake gigantic new projects, like the Interstate Highway System and the space program. But now, when governments are bigger, they don’t.

    The answer is what Jonathan Rauch of the National Journal once called demosclerosis. Over the past few decades, governments have become entwined in a series of arrangements that drain money from productive uses and direct it toward unproductive ones.

That’s exactly right, and Rauch’s book, Demosclerosis: The Silent Killer of American Government, remains just as timely as in the 1990s, when it came out.
10945  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: October 14, 2010, 07:24:24 PM

A good police department would plan and train for this no matter if there was intel or not. It will be interesting to see if other cities do this drill as well, however.
10946  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: October 14, 2010, 06:45:10 PM

The democrats, doing for America what they did for Detroit!
10947  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: October 14, 2010, 02:06:43 PM

Contrast and compare. Western civilization and islamic savagery.
10948  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: October 14, 2010, 10:42:33 AM
Although not as constitutionally pure as a declaration of war, we have the congressional authorization to use force.

    Authorization for Use of Military Force
    September 18, 2001

    Public Law 107-40 [S. J. RES. 23]

    107th CONGRESS


    To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.

    Whereas, on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were committed against the United States and its citizens; and

    Whereas, such acts render it both necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad; and

    Whereas, in light of the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence; and

    Whereas, such acts continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States; and

    Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States: Now, therefore, be it

          Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


          This joint resolution may be cited as the `Authorization for Use of Military Force'.


          (a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

          (b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

                (1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

                (2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

    Approved September 18, 2001.

10949  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tolerance and Diversity! on: October 14, 2010, 10:36:46 AM

“Allah honored wives by instating the punishment of beatings.” So said Cleric Sa’d Arafat earlier this year. Last month, a Wellesley, Massachusetts public school took a trip to a mosque, where the school children were taught to pray to that same Allah.

    The result is stunning: an unabashed exercise in Islamic dawa, the “call to Islam” and the manner by which the Brotherhood’s spiritual guide, Yusuf Qaradawi, promises that Islam will “conquer America” and “conquer Europe.” Qaradawi — wonder of wonders — is a trustee of the Roxbury mosque (although he is banned from the U.S. for sanctioning terrorism). As the video relates, “Dawa Net,” one Islamic organization that instructs on how to use the schools to inculcate the young, explains that public schools in America are “fertile grounds where the seeds of Islam can be sowed inside the hearts of non-Muslim students.”

Well, except for the icky girls. Cooties, and all. They were not allowed to take part in the “tolerance” indoctrination. Have to teach these girls how to show respect! And teach them a little about  the benefits of misogynistic subjugation in the Muslim world, right?

10950  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: October 14, 2010, 09:37:33 AM
I have huge issues with this administration. In a sane world, Obama should only see the inside of the white house as part of a public tour. However, he is the elected president and thus has the lawful authority of that position as commander in chief of the US military.

You can have any reservations you want about his decisionmaking and ethics, of lack thereof, but I see no valid claim regarding the use of the military to make war on those who have made war on us. Were Barry to have airstrikes called in on Tea Party gatherings, then you would have a point.
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